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Wednesday, November 13, 2013
81 Days: No more tears for Woody

By Jane McManus

Each day from now until Feb. 2, ESPNNewYork.com will take you inside the challenge of staging the most unpredictable NFL title game ever. There are 81 days to the Super Bowl.

NEW YORK -- Woody Johnson stood behind a table covered in winter coats at the Bowery Mission on Manhattan on Tuesday. Alongside New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Johnson handed out new and gently-used coats to homeless men who live at the shelter.

Later, Johnson passed by a man in the hall whose eyes lit up when he saw the New York Jets owner.

“I’m a Jet fan!” he said as he vigorously shook Johnson’s hand. “I cry with you every year!”

Johnson smiled and told him, “We don’t want to cry any more.”

The Jets are in a playoff conversation at 5-4, having come off a pivotal win over the New Orleans Saints before a bye week. This Sunday the team heads to Buffalo.

Both Johnson and New York Giants co-owner Jonathan Tisch have been peppered with questions and comments about their teams as they fulfill Super Bowl host committee obligations in these months leading up to the Feb. 2 game.

Sometimes it’s touching, and sometimes comical. Clearly, though, fans on both sides of the Hudson are passionate about their teams, and owning an NFL franchise is a lot different from owning a widget business.

New York Cares and Jersey Cares invited members of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee to help kick off the annual coat drive, and the committee is a partner this year in the effort. It’s the 25th year that the organizations have collected coats to distribute to people in need, and Kelly said he wanted to see if they could distribute more coats than ever this year. The New York and New Jersey groups say they have passed out two million coats in the past 25 years.

Coats are being collected at participating schools, fire departments and police stations.

Come back daily for more on the issues, logistics and personalities surrounding Super Bowl XLVIII.